By Jaheim Pierre ’25
Alan Paynter joins the admissions team at Hobart and William Smith Colleges as its director. In his purview, he will oversee the entire marketing and recruitment process. Part of the job description is to design and implement a recruiting and marketing strategy to help HWS meet its overall admissions goals.
Reflecting on his own life story, Paynter emphasized the importance of a college education and the part college played in his life—hence why he thinks it is still important and relevant. Originally from New Jersey, Paynter was a first-generation college student and a college athlete; he graduated with his Bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University and a Master’s degree from Duquesne University.
Mr. Paynter told the Herald that he is excited about the future of HWS Admissions and of the recent strides the office has made to modernize and attract students with different talents, skills, and abilities, all of which will create a class of diverse ideas and backgrounds. This excitement and optimism for creating this class stems from his love for history and tradition. According to Paynter, he could not see himself working at an institution where there is no history or context for his actions, and he feels that HWS satisfies that requirement.
Mr. Paynter sees the history of the Colleges as something important that drives the decision he makes on a day-to-day basis. This love for history reflects the history of Paynter himself, a 20-year veteran in the field of admissions and recruitment with a focus on social media liaison work, diversity, inclusion, and athletics.
He also keeps connections with his professional roots in Pennsylvania in his current role as admissions counselor for Greater Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley area in Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Mr. Paynter is also extending beyond his comfort zone; he is getting to know more parts of the United States as the admissions counselor for Florida and Tennessee. He travels quite frequently to give motivational speeches and talks on improving campus culture.
When asked about the value of education and how Hobart and William Smith Colleges prepare students for the future, Mr. Paynter remarked that HWS is always evolving. He cited that evolution as the reason this small liberal arts school has been able to remain competitive. He characterized HWS as one of the first colleges to offer women’s studies as an academic major.
Paynter views academics as ways the Colleges evolve with the time and take the appropriate actions to ensure that student success is paramount to the institution’s interests. He expressed no doubt that HWS will remain competitive. He is committed to continuing the work of building classes that fully take on the history of HWS and share a particular vigor to carve a path that is aligned with the values that shaped the institution.
Finally, in his second admissions cycle here at HWS, Paynter admits that the job of admissions is never over, as there is always an element of admissions going on all year, whether that be through recruitment or the welcoming in of the new students. Alan Paynter ended by telling the Herald that he is confident in the future of student life here and it is his expectation to see an auspicious trajectory both in admissions and the wider Hobart and William Smith Colleges.